Ascent Abort-2 Flight Test Complete
The critical launch abort system for NASA's Orion spacecraft was put to its hardest test and it demonstrated the capability to pull the crew module and future astronauts to safety during a launch if there is an emergency. The Ascent Abort-2 flight test is a major test milestone that is enabling the safe passage of astronauts aboard Orion on the Artemis missions to the Moon and then Mars.
About the AA-2 Test:
A test version of the Orion crew module with a fully active launch abort system will launch on a booster from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The launch abort system will initiate at an altitude of about six miles as Orion faces the greatest aerodynamic pressure during ascent, traveling at more than 1,000 miles per hour. The system will pull the crew module away from its booster and orient it for splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. The test will take less than three minutes.
What We Learn:
Test data from 890 sensors will be sent in real-time to ground sites as well as recorded on board by 12 data recorders. The 12 data recorders will eject from the crew module before Orion reaches the water and will be retrieved after the test.
Orion is the only spacecraft built for deep space exploration and tests like AA-2 get us closer to safely landing on the Moon in 2024.
Orion Capsule: Designed for Deep Space
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor building NASA's Orion, the only spacecraft designed for long-duration, human deep space exploration. Orion will transport astronauts to interplanetary destinations beyond low Earth orbit, such as the Moon and eventually Mars, and return them safely back to Earth.
Orion Design Components
The Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft is undergoing assembly and test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA and Lockheed Martin are approaching the end of Orion’s development phase, having successfully tackled many of the toughest engineering challenges associated with human exploration of deep space. The team remains on track for Artemis 1 in 2020 and Artemis 2, the first crewed flight, as early as 2022.